Bundesamt fur Umwelt CH

Muri, Switzerland

Bundesamt fur Umwelt CH

Muri, Switzerland
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Remund J.,Meteotest CH | Augustin S.,Bundesamt Fur Umwelt CH
Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur Forstwesen | Year: 2015

Climate scenarios for the 21st century for Switzerland show increasing temperatures and more frequent weather extremes and the risk of drought will become more important. The objective of the study was the calculation of indicators which allow the estimation and evaluation of drought risks on a regional scale. The site water balance and the ratio between actual and potential evapotranspiration (ETa/ETp) were used as indicators. They are closely related to vitality parameters of trees. For projections in the future were used the A1B climate scenario, which assumes a warming of 2.7 to 4.1°C in Switzerland, and three regional climate models (CLM, RCA, REGCM3), which predict different developments regarding precipitation and temperature. Historical time series between 1951 and 2012 and scenarios up to 2100 for different climatic regions were calculated. The indicators reproduce well the measured trends and the regional differences. In all regions there was in the past a trend to increased drought. The Geneva/ Vaud region as well as the western midlands and north Switzerland show the most pronounced changes. Projections with the CLM model (which reproduced best the historic trend 1981-2010 for Switzerland) show increasing drought and, in general, an increasing variability of the climate for the mid-century.


Forests with increasing standing volumes help to mitigate the impacts of climate change as they act as a carbon sink. Forest enterprises in Switzerland can generate value from the carbon sink service by selling corresponding CO2 certificates on the voluntary market. Up to now, few forest enterprises have taken advantage of this option. Possible reasons for this are presented in this article. The legal and political rules that may influence decisions by forest enterprises are examined with the help of the institutional resource regimes model. The findings are complemented and evaluated using expert interviews in forest enterprises and with political decision-makers. Many factors influence the valorisation of the carbon sink function of the forest. It is hindered, on the one hand, by the fact that use of the sink function competes with other functions of the forests, for instance the production of timber, and, on the other, by widespread scepticism and ignorance as well as high transaction costs. However, it is promoted by low standing volumes, good planning systems and by the existence of nature conservation reserves. To increase valorisation of the carbon sink function of the forest, it is recommended to 1) clarify the trade-offs and synergies between the functions, 2) develop rules (standards) for the voluntary carbon market in Switzerland and 3) make more information available to forest enterprises, so that they can better weigh up the risks and benefits of marketing the carbon sink value of the forest.


Bolliger M.,Bundesamt fur Umwelt CH | Imesch N.,Bundesamt fur Umwelt CH | Schnidrig R.,Bundesamt fur Umwelt CH
Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur Forstwesen | Year: 2012

This essay takes stock of the forest reserve policy of the Swiss Confederation and the Cantons, based on a historical perspective that follows the development of the ideas underlying the reserve concept. Today, forest reserves cover an area of 61,000 ha, 53,000 ha of which are actually covered by forest, which corresponds to 4.6% of the Swiss forest area. Thus, the aim of 10% of the forest area having reserve status by 2030 seems realistic. However, regional differences are quite large. Total area, density and the average size of the reserves vary considerably between the 14 economic regions of the Swiss National Forest Inventory. In most regions there is a lack of strict forest reserves of large size (> 150 ha), in which the widespread typical forest formations can develop naturally. Thirty-three of 48 forest reserves larger than 150 ha are concentrated in the economic regions of the western Jura mountains, the eastern Pre-Alps region, the southwestern, southeastern and southern Alps. In the other regions, small reserves dominate - especially on the Swiss Plateau, where 80% of the reserves are smaller than 20 ha. Finally, based on this stock-taking and taking into account additional considerations, we formulate seven focal points of future activities. Considering the regionally very different overall status of forests, gaps in the forest reserve network shall be filled in a targeted manner. Thereby also new, unconventional solutions must be pursued, and especially on the Swiss Plateau and in the western Jura an extra effort must be made.


Durr C.,Bundesamt Fur Umwelt CH
Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur Forstwesen | Year: 2011

The ministers of the 46 member countries of Forest Europe, as the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE) is now called, will decide at the conference in Oslo in June 2011 whether they would like to convert the existing process into a legally binding forest agreement. Switzerland fundamentally supports the establishment of such an agreement and has participated in the corresponding clarification processes. This contribution presents the developments made up to now, and explains the advantages such an agreement would have for Switzerland and the obstacles that remain to be overcome.


Blaser J.,Intercooperation | Kuchli C.,Bundesamt Fur Umwelt CH
Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur Forstwesen | Year: 2011

Around one third of the earth's surface is under forest cover which is distributed more or less equally between industrialised and developing countries. Whereas forest areas in the temperate and boreal climate zones are more or less stable or on the increase, the scale of deforestation and forest degradation in the tropics remains dramatic. This situation is likely to continue in the decades to come because the world's ever-growing population needs new agricultural land and the pressure on resources (forest products, land, water, minerals) continues to increase as a result of globalisation and global change. Moreover, sustainable forest management has not yet become standard practice in many southern countries because forest management can rarely compete with other forms of land use in terms of economic returns. The protection and sustainable management of forest resources is basically the responsibility of each individual country and cannot be regulated and financed globally. However, enormous financial resources, i.e. on a scale of tens of billions of Swiss francs per year, are required for the introduction of comprehensive land-use planning in developing countries incorporating suitable protection of natural forests and sustainable forest management. New approaches for the valorisation of services provided by forests such as carbon sinks (e.g. REDD+) offer significant potential for improving forest protection and sustainable forest management. It augurs well that the economic internalisation of the forest and its services is in full swing at global level and that, based on the REDD+ resolutions passed at the last climate conference in Cancún, many countries have opted for the path of forest conservation and sustainable forest management.


Durr C.,Bundesamt Fur Umwelt CH
Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur Forstwesen | Year: 2011

International forest policy is mainly shaped by the participation of countries at global level, which is why forestrelated organisations in Europe and their political processes have received little attention up to now. Meanwhile, however, global forest policy is being increasingly influenced by regional processes. Efforts are underway in the context of various European processes to put sustainable forest management on a firmer footing and make it better known outside the sector. Hence the safeguarding of national interests in the European context is becoming more important for Switzerland. This contribution presents the main forest policy organisations in Europe from Switzerland's perspective, i.e. Forest Europe, the FAO European Forestry Commission, the UNECE Timber Committee, the European Union and the European Forest Institute, so as to provide a better understanding of where European forest policy originates.


Augustin S.,Bundesamt fur Umwelt CH | Achermann B.,Bundesamt fur Umwelt CH
Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur Forstwesen | Year: 2012

In total, the emissions of nitrogen, sulfur and other anthropogenic air pollutants in Switzerland were reduced in the last decades. This is the result of effective measures of the air pollution abatement policies. Sulfur input in forests today is nearly negligible due to a reduction of emissions by more than 90 percent. Regarding nitrogen emissions the picture is less consistent: they are reduced in consequence of the abatement of nitrogen oxides emissions from combustion processes, but ammonia emissions from agriculture show a considerably less pronounced reduction, and since the year 2000 they remain on a high level. In 2007 the average inputs in forests amounted to 24 kg nitrogen per ha and 4.8 kg sulfur per ha. Natural nitrogen input is 1 to 3 kg per ha and year. On nearly all forest sites (>95%) the critical loads for nitrogen were exceeded. Nitrogen input consists of roughly two thirds of reduced ammonia nitrogen from agricultural activities and one third of oxidized nitrogen from combustion processes (traffic, households, industries, commerce). In 2007 the acidification potential of nitrogen and sulfur input in forests on many sites was considerably higher than the amount of available neutralizing cations (Ca, Mg, K) from the weathering of minerals and their input with dust. Further efforts are necessary to reduce the nitrogen load in forests to a tolerable amount.


Kuchli C.,Bundesamt Fur Umwelt CH | Blaser J.,Direktion Fur Entwicklung und Zusammenarbeit CH
Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur Forstwesen | Year: 2011

Through its commitment to forest issues at international level, the Swiss Confederation aims to identify solutions for global forest problems, on the one hand, and to protect its own forest-related national interests, on the other. The general public's awareness of topics like the destruction of the rain forest and the trade in tropical timber is focused mainly on global problems, the resolution of which is a matter of particular concern for the Swiss population. The outcome of the associated international environmental negotiations also influences forest-relevant policies at national level as international agreements also have to be implemented at home. This essay identifies such correlations and provides information about international processes and the approaches adopted by the federal authorities to improve conditions for the protection and sustainable management of all forests. The challenges facing forests at national, European and international levels are also examined.


Walther G.-R.,Bundesamt fur Umwelt CH | Leuthardt F.,Bundesamt fur Umwelt CH
Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur Forstwesen | Year: 2014

The Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) is drawing up a national strategy for invasive non-native species, in cooperation with other relevant federal offices and the cantons. Other institutions and organisations are integrated into this process. This article reviews the data which will be used for the national strategy in preparation at present, as well as the legal context and the actors involved.


Roosli B.,Bundesamt fur Umwelt CH | Landolt-Parolini D.,Bundesamt fur Umwelt CH
Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur Forstwesen | Year: 2013

Economic structural change, climate change, the energy " turnaround" and rampant population growth are all megatrends that influence forest development directly or indirectly. In this essay, the authors investigate the question as to the challenges presented by the constitutional mandate to "ensure sustainable forest development" and how the federal authorities aim to meet them. Together with the cantons, the federal authorities will deploy a mix of instruments in the future (e.g. financial incentives, regulations, development of decision aids, etc.), as they did before. However, some instruments need specific development so that the forest can fulfill its wide-ranging functions for future generations and in the context of changing conditions.

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